Google is said to be working on a third-party keyboard for iOS. That’s according to a new report by The Verge, noting that the software in progress “would put the company’s search engine in a highly used part of the interface.”
Swipe and search
Like the popular iOS third-party keyboards Swype and SwiftKey, and like the standard Android keyboard, Google’s iOS keyboard features gesture-based typing, allowing you to simply swipe from letter to letter to type words literally without lifting your finger.
Download Swype and Swiftkey
But the flagship feature of Google’s iOS keyboard is said to be search, which, of course, is unsurprising given that it’s being developed by the search giant. The keyboard includes a Google logo that can be tapped to access text-based Web search, perhaps for getting links or more information. In addition, it has buttons for searching photos and GIFs, most probably powered by Google Image Search.
“The keyboard is visually distinct from the standard Android keyboard, which incorporates voice search but no text or image-based searching,” The Verge notes.
More Google searches on iOS
Already, Google is the default search engine on iOS, at least on Apple’s Safari mobile Web browser.
Google reportedly paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 for being the default search engine on iOS
Download Google and Chrome
But apparently Google is hoping that its very own keyboard would further increase Google searches on iOS through a medium that’s as ubiquitous as the thing that users type on.
But then again, the somewhat involved process of enabling third-party keyboards, let alone making them the default instead of Apple’s standard keyboard, on iOS has a deterrent effect on their wide adoption. There’s also the issue of third-party keyboards’ being generally prone to performance and stability glitches.
Be that as it may, there are still new and upcoming third-party keyboards attempting to make their mark on iOS, including one called Word Flow from Microsoft.
Learn more about Microsoft’s Word Flow keyboard
Microsoft recently acquired SwiftKey
Google’s iOS keyboard is said to have been in development for months, with no definite release date yet.
In other Google iOS app news
Google is yet to confirm or deny the existence of its rumored iOS keyboard. But here’s something that Google itself has just officially announced: a new update to its photo storage and management app, Google Photos, that offers smarter photo albums for events and trips with support for maps, location pins, and text.
“Starting today, after an event or trip, Google Photos will suggest a new album for you, curated with just your best shots,” Google explains. “It’ll also add maps to show how far you traveled and location pins to remember where you went—because it’s not always easy to recall the late-night diner you hit on your road trip, or which campsite you pitched the tent in when arriving after dark. You can add text captions to the album to describe the view from the small hill huge mountain you climbed, and turn on collaboration to let others add their own photos.”
The update also lets you customize an existing album with maps, location pins, and text.
Download Google Photos